A Supreme Court Panel set up in 2011 to protect the rights of sex workers and improve their working conditions, has recommended that Police must not interfere or take criminal action against adult sex workers “participating with consent”, reported Hindustan Times

Under section 8 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), 1956, soliciting or seducing for the purpose of prostitution is punishable with six months in jail and a fine of Rs 500. The panel has recommended that this section be removed.

“Whenever there is a raid on a brothel, since voluntary sex work is not illegal and only running the brothel is unlawful, the sex workers should not be arrested or penalised or harassed or victimised,” the panel recommends.

A report published in Hindustan Times further says that the panel has suggested amendment to the law that says any person above 18 living on the earnings of prostitution faces imprisonment of up to 10 years, and asked that unless it is proved the sex worker was forced into prostitution, no action should be taken against the worker’s parent, partner or children living on her earnings.

However, soliciting sex work at a public place remains illegal. But the panel has recommended that instead of jailing them, they be put in a correctional home and teh duration of stay be reduced from 5 years to 1.